Quick Story for the Beginner

๐Ÿค” Busy weeks have left me little time for reflection, however today I take a moment to reflect on my early days with the digital business. This one goes out to the person still young in business.

In my early days, when I first started our digital business (the 1st iteration of it anyway). I had this idea about how the internet was going to change the world, at that time. Amazon was selling books, Itunes had just started up, the idea of social media being what it is today was still a few years away. Being an “internet developer” I went on to work with all sorts of companies/individuals, e-commerce, social media iterations, even attempted to be a part of bringing music online. I’m not going to say any of my ideas were original, my point being there were many people in that time period that had the same ideas, yet most of them (including myself, failed).

As I went on through my early years to be what you might consider a front runner to eventual loser. I became resentful as I saw other companies/people go on to be phenomenal successes in their digital ventures. As a young man, money was my ultimate measure of success (you could say I still had a poor mans mentality). So when I heard of a specific gentlemen I knew, who started his digital business slightly after I started mine for over 100 million. I just about lost my mind. There is the fear of missing out, then there is the actual feeling of missing out, not a good feeling to say the least.

After coming off of a bender and momentarily escaping my self pity and remorse. I remember having this epiphany where I was like “aha, that easily could have been me, all I had to do was execute!”. So then, I started the entire process again. Still bumped my head many times, however roughly 10 years later, my version of winning. Granted, we don’t have 100 million in assets, but you know what? Life is good and although God gets all the credit, it still came down to the execution. Because even with God. Faith without works is dead.

๐Ÿ’กFocus on the execution, not the idea, you will do better.

Real Estate Investment Tips for Beginners

Just thought I would share some tips/thoughts on real estate investing. Our portfolio is still small, but big enough to have learned some lessons I think are worth sharing.


1. Just do it. If you still haven’t bought your first property, yes do your research. However, most importantly, buy your first property. Whether its your primary residence, a house hack or rental, the sooner you get in the game, the quicker you’ll get to where you want to be. Analysis Paralysis is a real thing and something you’ll want to avoid.

2. Know your numbers. You’ll want to approach your first purchase as an investment based purely on numbers (no emotions). This is especially key when the market is hot, you’ll want to practice patience and land on a deal that makes sense long term. On the flip-side, when the market turns cold, you’ll want to make sure your positioned well enough to not be greatly impacted by market dynamics. End of the day, don’t over-pay, don’t over leverage.

3. Look for Value Add Properties. Turnkey is a popular term sold to beginner investors and there are definitely pros to Turnkey properties. However, very seldom do they work out for beginners (as you’ll likely be paying a significant premium on the property). Instead, you’ll want to look for properties that you can add value to (fixer uppers). Although the idea of “turn key” will sound appealing, you’ll want to avoid turnkey deals (at least in the beginning).

4. Define your strategy early and be ready to adapt. Whether its House Flipping, Rentals, Wholesaling, Short Term Rentals..ect. Define your strategy early and be ready to pivot when it makes sense. Case in point, we originally planned on going with long-term rentals and pivoted to short term rentals when Covid-19 hit.

5. Its never too late too start. Regardless of age or background, its never too late to start. If you have a desire to do it, go back to point#1 and figure out what you have to do to get to property#1. One of the things I love about real estate investing is that anyone regardless of age or background (doesn’t matter if your 22 or 62) you can do it.


Hope that helps someone ๐Ÿ™‚


3 Business Tips I would give myself in 2001

Feeling a bit nostalgic about my first business FernGullyGraphics that I started almost 20 years ago in Denver, CO. Although there are many reasons why that version of the business went defunct in 2005. If I could go back and give myself 3 tips, they would be:


1. Understand the accounting, legal and tax aspects of your business. When I first started, I thought, I could just figure it out all later. Bad idea. You don’t have to know it all, but take the time to learn the basics, even if you are able to outsource this from the beginning, its still a good idea to have a general understanding. When I first started the business, I registered FernGullyGraphics as a C-Corp because I wanted to be big like Microsoft, so I thought C-corp was the way to go. It wasn’t..

2. Know your numbers. This goes beyond expenses and balance sheets. This is more about understanding where your break even points are and where your profit margins should be to ensure continued growth. This might seem complicated at first, however in basic terms think of it like buying for $1, selling for $2 and then asking yourself if that is a viable transaction for your business long term. Every business should be making a certain level of profit to sustain any negative changes in business. In my case, by the time we got big enough where we had a team and began to scale, I had no idea what we should be charging. Our overhead (expenses) quickly surpassed our in-flow (cash coming in) and soon went under. In many ways, you can think of knowing your numbers as your ability to see ahead as your driving.

3. Get around people with experience you seek. Thinking back on my early years, I was around some really talented and experienced people. Although I was able to soak in some knowledge. Very seldom did I make a point to engage, as I had a fear of coming across as inept. Knowing what I know now, don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Often times, that is the difference between the winners and losers in business.


And with that, I will leave you with a simple, yet meaningful quote by Francis Baconย  “Knowledge is Power”

Wealth Building is a Mindset

If your struggling financially, or worried about your retirement and future. Change the mind-set, its really that simple. Granted, the journey is not easy, however neither is the road of financial instability.


Let me give you some quick examples; instead of saying things like “I cant afford this” say “how can I afford this” or instead of “how will I spend this money I just received” think “how can this money I just received make me more money”.


Now lets put some action behind this thought process by identifying your wants (vacation, maybe a new tv..ect) vs your needs (house, food, working capital..ect) and identifying how your spending habits are prohibiting you from satisfying your financial needs and goals. Next, how are you spending your time? Are you maximizing your 24 hour day or does your day consist of disorganization, chaos, excessive leisure?


There are no doubt, levels to this. However, often times when people think of wealth building they think of millions in working capital, real estate, enterprise..ect and although that is a level someone can achieve, that in-itself is not wealth building, nor is it a requirement or the starting point. The starting point is with the right mind-set, supported by consistent good actions that line up with your wealth building goals and values. Which ANYONE can do, you just have to make the change and commit.

Two fundamental skill sets that are paving my way to success.

Learning how to manage risk.

Without risk management, it is impossible to ever truly scale in business. Managing risk is essentially the difference between a loss setting you back a few weeks vs a few years. Because make no mistake, you are going to take losses, its not about avoiding the loss, its about protecting your exposure to those losses. Thus, maintaining your upwards trajectory without any major pitfalls.

So how exactly do you learn to manage risk? The short and simple answer is understanding that most decisions are driven by two basic human emotions. FEAR and GREED. If you understand this and detach your-self from the emotional element of making business decisions (no fomo or analysis paralysis), your well on your way to understanding risk management.


Learning how to ask for help and learning to remain the student.

Seems simple enough right? However, if I had a dime for every time I could have avoided a bumpy ride by simply asking for help vs trying to “figure it out on my own” I’d be a lot wealthier than I am today. Moving past my own insecurities and ego, I’ve slowly learned to reach out for help when I need it and to this date, some of the biggest opportunities I have had presented to me, were a direct result of me asking for help. Its that simple, need help? Ask.

The second part to this is learning to remain the student. Growth is driven by the ability to learn and adapt, if I am not learning, I am not growing. When ever I get the opportunity, I ask questions and I listen.

3 tips to help ensure your business thrives, not dies in 2019.

1. Build New Systems and Improve (Optimize) current systems. First, what is a system by Definition? A set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized scheme or method.


Lets use NFL teams as a quick example, if you think the head coach of an NFL team wakes up on Sunday morning and “wings it” hoping for the best result, you’d be very mistaken. The same should apply to business, if you are waking up each day without a clear idea of what your work-flow and objectives are going to look like, its time to build some systems.


On the contrary, if you already have system’s in place. Using the same NFL analogy, if you think head coaches are not creating, tweaking or analyzing the effectiveness of existing systems on a daily, weekly basis, you’d be mistaken. The same applies to business, just because you have a system in place, does not mean its effective. The only thing worse than not having systems in place, is having ineffective systems in place.


2. Build and Optimize your systems based on your current personal not future personal. This might seem obvious, but if we really take a step back and analyze how many times as business owners we have tried to fit a square peg into a round hole, we might be surprised (I know I was). Take a moment to analyze what your team is currently excelling at, what they are failing at and build/optimize your systems off of what your team is currently doing, not what you are expecting them to do. The result will be less friction and head banging when things do not go as planned.


3. Focus more on Objectives and Not Goals, while also ensuring you have set realistic and obtainable goals for your business. First, what is the difference between Goals and Objectives? Goals are the end result, whereas Objectives are how you are going to get there.


As an example, lets say one Goal is to land X amount of accounts per day which is predicated on how many calls per day we make. Before we can even set this goal, we first need to figure out how many calls per day we can realistically make in a single work day. Lets say we figure out that number is 75. The next step is figuring out how many calls we need to make in a work day to realistically = 1 new account. Lets say that number is 50.


Now that we have this information, we can comfortably set a realistic goal of 1 new account per day, by setting the objective that we need to be making at least 75 calls per day. Now lets imagine for a moment that we simply set a goal of 1 account per day without establishing any clear objectives. By focusing on Objectives first, we can ensure we are always meeting our goals and also making sure our goals are realistic.


#Workflow #Objectives #TeamBuilding #Business #Entrepreneurship #PeterDrucker


Character building, before business building. With this mind, one principle that comes to mind is discipline. Not in the punishing sense, but in the following definition:


1. The controlled behavior resulting from such training.

2. Activity that provides mental or physical training.

3. A system of rules of conduct.


When I started (in life in general) I always had a tough time focusing on tasks (my brain was always running a mile a minute) and no matter how hard I tried I always felt like I was failing. The result? I would quite what ever I was doing and move onto something different (in hopes of finding success).


Discipline was not something that came naturally to me. However I was blessed to have had numerous people in my life that taught me the importance of doing something over, and over, and over again (without quit), until it became habit (good habit). Then from those habits, skills were cultivated.


So if you ever find your-self admiring some ones skill or business acumen and wonder how they got there. The answer is simple; time and application. In the most basic sense, there really is no such thing as someone being more talented than you. Only experience (time) + application of that experience.


Discipline, its important and its never too late to start, or apply (its starts with the small stuff).


Some keys to starting and maintaining a successful business.

1. Your Mental, Spirituality and overall well being should always come first. If things are not right within you, how can one expect things to be right within the business?


2. Play to your strengths in business, not necessarily your passions in life. This can be a tough one, because drawing the lines between what we are passionate about in life and what we are actually good at in business can be tough. This can sometimes require some acceptance and humility, but can also be the difference between feeling like you are constantly chasing a dream vs living out your dreams.


3. If it feels like work 80% of the time, it’s probably time to re-evaluate how and where you are applying your time within your business. Building a business is tough, however it shouldn’t feel like work. Challenging yes, constantly laboring and stressful? No. This is where point#2 comes in handy because if you are constantly playing to your strengths (which requires awareness of your weaknesses) you’ll get a certain level of enjoyment. Which makes hours, feel like minuets.


What are some of your keys to starting and maintaining a successful business?

Overcoming the stress and fears of business.

Building a business can sometimes be a stressful, fear filled and daunting experience, however it does not have to be. Here are some tips and areas that have helped me overcome some of the stresses that come with starting and operating a business.


#1. Accepting failure as part of the process. If I could have a chat with the 19 year old version of myself, I’d tell him that without failure, growth is not possible. Therefore failure is something that should be embraced, not avoided.


#2 When problems arise, focus on the solution not the problem. Its easy to get caught in the blame game and maybe unleashing some frustrations on those you feel might be responsible for the problem. However by doing this, you’ve likely moved your business further from the solution and closer to more (bigger) problems. If the ultimate goal is to solve the problem, why waste time on anything other than the solution?


#3 Accepting that no matter how hard you try, someone is always going to be unhappy with your business. Sure, you want to keep an eye on customer and employee satisfaction. However maintaining an understanding that you can’t realistically please everyone. Will create a healthier work environment for you, your employees and your clients.


#4 Take a moment to think about what aspects of your business you’re most grateful for. Is it your client interactions? Maybe its your team? Being able to provide for your family? Doing what you love? What ever the reasons, being in a constant state of gratitude will easily reduce any stress or anxiety you might be feeling.


#5 Plan, plan, plan and plan some more. Lets face it, life is much easier when we plan and business is no different. Sure, there will be events and situations you cant possibly plan for. However by planning for what you can (the good and the bad), you’ll be creating stability for your business and more stability = less stress.

Cyrpto Currencies: What are they, should you buy some, what are the risks?ย 

โ€โ€Well for starters, what are cyrpto currencies? The most simplified version or idea behind a crypto currency is just that, its a form of anonymous currency. In addition to anonymity, with cryptos, there is no central authority (it’s 100% decentralized) and completely intangible. This means that a cyrpto currency (in theory) is the safest, most secure and anonymous form of currency on the planet (essentially by the people, for the people).
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Onto the next question “should you buy Crypto Currencies?” Absolutely, but ONLY if you understand the true fundamentals and ideology behind crypto currency.
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Just to give you an idea of my history with crypto currencies. When I first heard of cyrpto currency (bitcoin in my case) the year was around 2010. Back then, bitcoin was just an idea in its early stages of becoming something real. At one point, I had set-up a tower with the intent of mining bitcoin but quickly lost interest because I thought it was a waste of time. I remember thinking to myself, “ok, I set this up, mine a couple hundred bitcoins, then what? Trade them with other bitcoiners and Ron Paul supporters?” Part of me wanted to believe that bitcoin was the future, but the truth was. I never really saw bitcoin going beyond the hardcore geeks, anti government, end the fed enthusiasts. For me, Bitcoin was a cool idea, but that was it, an idea. Now things are very different because I’ve had the opportunity to witness crypto currency grow beyond anything I ever could have imagined. In short (for me), crypto currency is the future of currency.
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With this in mind, although much of what surrounds crypto currency today is still hype. Eventually, the vast majority of people will start to see crypto currencies like we see alternative energies (the future). So although investing in Cyrpto Currencies is a good idea, so is doing your research. Cyrpto currencies have reached astronomical heights, however there are still many things than can go wrong when purchasing cyrpto currency. Especially, if you do not understand the fundamentals and inherit risks that come with the exchanges needed to acquire your cyrpto. Not to mention, knowing the difference between the now 1000+ different types of cryptos available.
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So my closing advice, if you are going to buy cryptos or even if you already own cryptos. Make sure you understand all of the fundamentals behind what you own. Beyond understanding that all cyrptos are not created equal. Dont be that guy or gal who stores all of his/her crypto on an exchange like Coinbase or Binance (then loses it all). Remember, the whole basis behind cyrpto-currency is/was to create an anonymous de-centralized currency. So let us not forget what happened with Mt Gox and most recently bitfinex (which are surely to happen again).

Learn, Invest, Repeat.
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